The Canary Islands are a popular destination for tourists looking for sun, sand, and sea. However, with millions of visitors flocking to the islands each year, finding a truly unique and off-the-beaten-track experience can be hard. But fear not, as there are still plenty of secret spots to be discovered in the Canary Islands. From secluded beaches to charming villages, here are 11 stunning destinations that are sure to take you off the beaten path and give you a truly authentic and unforgettable experience.
11 Hidden Gems of the Canary Islands
When it comes to the Canary Islands, most visitors flock to popular destinations, especially in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote. But beyond the bustling resorts and tourist hotspots, a plethora of stunning, off-the-beaten-track destinations are waiting to be discovered. These hidden gems offer a unique and authentic experience, away from the crowds and commercialization. From secluded beaches to rugged mountains and picturesque villages to lush valleys, the Canary Islands have something to offer for every type of traveler. Not only will you get to see a different side of the islands, but you will also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the list of 11 breathtaking and lesser-known Canary Islands destinations worth exploring.
Playa del Caleton Blanco, Lanzarote
Discover Playa del Caleton Blanco, a natural oasis nestled in the rugged landscape of Lanzarote’s north coast. This secluded beach, located near the charming fishing town of Orzola, presents a breathtaking contrast of crystal clear turquoise waters, white sandy shores, and ancient volcanic ruins.
A safe and family-friendly destination, explore the protected linked lagoons that offer a unique swimming and snorkeling experience as the tide ebbs and flows. And when the wind picks up, take refuge in one of the natural rock shelters that dot the beach for a perfect sunbathing spot.
Although there are limited amenities, such as bars and restaurants, this only adds to the seclusion and tranquility of the beach. Bring your own food and drink, or take a short walk to Orzola for fresh seafood dishes.
Caleton Blanco is easily accessible by car with ample parking. It can be found by following the coastal road north from Jameos del Agua, passing the sweeping left bend, and on the right side, just before the road starts to rise. Park anywhere, then choose your spot on the beach and let yourself be enveloped in the natural beauty of Playa del Caleton Blanco.
Playa de las Conchas, La Graciosa, Chinijo Archipelago
Sneak away to the remote and untouched paradise of Playa de las Conchas on the secluded island of La Graciosa, located just north of Lanzarote. Accessible only by ferry, this small island boasts lesser crowds and unspoiled natural beauty. And if you venture to the northwest end of the island to Playa de las Conchas, you will be greeted by a stunning golden sand beach, small sand dunes, and unobstructed views of Isla de Montana Clara and the towering volcanic cone, Montana Bermeja, rising 154 meters. Measuring 400 meters in length and 100 meters in width, it is one of the largest sandy areas around Lanzarote.
This remote beach can be reached after traveling 5.5 kilometers down a dirt road, using a four-wheel drive vehicle for 15 minutes, or walking for up to 1 hour and 30 minutes in the sun. Don’t forget that you’ll need to pack everything you’ll use because there are no amenities here. Traveling there by 4WD taxi? Arrange a pick-up time with the driver.
Playa de Cofete to El Islote de las Siete Viudas, Fuerteventura
Experience Fuerteventura’s wild and rugged beauty on a walk from Playa de Cofete to El Islote de las Siete Viudas. Cofete Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the Canary Islands, is only accessible by 4WD and requires traversing the treacherous Jandía mountain range. Descend the cliff’s edge to reach the isolated sandbank, where you will be met with turquoise waters and stunning views.
As you walk north along the coastline, take in the breathtaking views of the Roque del Moro, a massive stone jutting out from the sea, and the numerous tidal pools teeming with marine life. After 45 minutes up to an hour of walking, you will reach the secluded El Islote de las Siete Viudas, a small “island” that is technically a peninsula.
This remote and wild spot offers nothing in the way of amenities, so be sure to bring your own food and water, and allocate enough time to get back safely. But, with a clear day and calm seas, you can enjoy the natural beauty and explore the interesting rock formations along the way.
Isla de Lobos, Fuerteventura
Escape to the secluded paradise of Isla de Lobos, a small desert island located off the coast of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. This protected island offers a sanctuary from the bustle of popular tourist towns, where you can spend a day sunbathing, hiking, and surfing without the crowds. At six square kilometers, the island is home to an ecological treasure and a perfect destination for disconnecting and reconnecting with nature.
Only 400 people per day, split between the morning and afternoon shifts, are allowed on Isla de Lobos. Fuerteventura’s Island Council issues permits, which can be downloaded three days before a trip via the council’s website.
From the port of Corralejo in northern Fuerteventura, you can take a scheduled boat excursion to Isla de Lobos or charter a private boat. Catamarans, sailing boats, kayaks, water taxis, and more are all available; some tours even incorporate excursions like snorkeling, fishing, golf buggy rides, and island bicycle tours.
Alternatively, you can reach Isla de Lobos from the neighboring island of Lanzarote, located across the La Bocaina Strait. In Playa Blanca, southern Lanzarote, you can find various options for getting to the island, some of which pass through waters where dolphins are frequently spotted. Keep in mind that private boat trips usually come with the required permit, but we recommend checking this when you make the reservation.
La Maceta, El Hierro
La Maceta is a must-visit destination for families looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating swim in the natural reserve of El Hierro. Located in the El Golfo valley in the north of the island, La Maceta is a haven of sun, lava, and the ocean that offers an unparalleled swimming experience. The natural pools, protected from the waves, are ideal for enjoying a refreshing dip and soaking up the sun.
Metal fences surround the spacious sunbathing area at La Maceta, which also features a set of stairs leading down to the water. The natural pools range in size and depth, making them suitable for all members of the family. A child-friendly pool is available, although swimming is not advised during high tide in case the ocean swallows the pools.
A fantastic destination for both residents and tourists, this stunning location features one of El Hierro’s most spectacular natural coastal pools. In addition, there is a sizable parking lot for those who arrive by car. La Maceta is located 4 kilometers north of Tigaday, and its exit off the HI550 road is clearly marked.
Porís de Candelaria, La Palma
Nestled in the northwest of La Palma, Tijarafe offers visitors the chance to discover a haven of unparalleled beauty – the Porís de Candelaria. The Barranco del Jurado, located 700 meters above sea level, serves as the starting point for a hike to a small paradise tucked away on the coast of this town rich in tradition.
Descending along the PR LP 12.2 trail, one is greeted by the stunning and imposing ravine of El Jurado, with its almost vertical walls reaching up to 620 meters in altitude. The ravine boasts unique geological formations, farmland, bird populations, and a diverse array of flora, making it a protected natural area.
As the trail winds down, it leads to the beach of Jurado, a coastal settlement that once served as a seaport for trading salt and fish. The journey continues by ascending the right bank of the ravine through a winding path, offering breathtaking views of the ravine and the vast ocean.
In less than 30 minutes on foot, we reach the natural port of Porís de Candelaria, built in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria. Here, visitors can enjoy free time before their return. The natural port boasts a 50-meter-high cave, a row of century-old white houses, crystal-clear waters, and a view that is difficult to forget.
Playa de Alojera, La Gomera
Tucked away in a picturesque valley on the northwest coast of La Gomera, Playa de Alojera awaits those willing to take the winding road to reach it. This black-sand beach is a secret sanctuary, far from the chaos of busy roads. Surrounded by lush palm trees and towering cliffs, it stretches for 200 meters with a mix of gravel and fine black sand. The steep rock walls provide protection from the northeast trade winds, making it a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.
At the bay’s northern end, a natural swimming pool invites visitors to take a dip and splash around. The highlight of this beach, however, is the stunning sunsets that can be seen from the small, sleepy hamlet, which is home to only 400 inhabitants. As more and more people discover this corner of the island, a few restaurants and bars offering fresh seafood have started to pop up in the area.
It takes a little over an hour by car to reach Playa de Alojera from the San Sebastian de la Gomera ferry station and two hours by bus (line 2 to Vallehermoso, then line 5 to Alojera).
Chejelipes, La Gomera
Nestled in the eastern mountains of La Gomera, the small village of Chejelipes is a sanctuary surrounded by lush greenery and tranquil reservoirs. This isolated corner is a peaceful haven with just around 40 inhabitants. It’s easy to reach but still secluded from the goings-on of more popular destinations.
The village of Chejelipes sits on the slopes of the La Villa ravine, surrounded by fertile crops and palm groves. Providing a tranquil setting for tourists, the hamlet and its surrounding area are shaped by three reservoirs. The walls of the weirs can be crossed, making them a fantastic location to take photographs of Chejelipes. When visiting the town, be sure to try the traditional barbecued rabbit, a local specialty.
From San Sebastián de La Gomera, driving to this village is quick and simple. Although the paved road is slightly narrow, it is surrounded by lovely traditional Canarian dwellings on one side and lush foliage and mountains on the other.
Playa de Güigüí, Gran Canaria
The secret gem of Gran Canaria’s beaches, Playa de Güigüí, is a hidden paradise located in the municipality of La Aldea de San Nicolás on the west coast of the island. This isolated sandy beach, backed by high vertiginous cliffs, is worth the effort for the fine sands, turquoise Atlantic Ocean, and views of the Teide volcano. It’s one of the few virgin beaches left on the island and is an important part of the Biosphere Reserve of Gran Canaria.
To get to Güigüí, you’ll need to drive to the village of Tasartico and then follow a dirt road until you see the sign for the beach. The path is marked and leads to a 5-kilometer hike, with a big hill to climb. It’s not recommended for small children and requires proper hiking shoes, as some parts of the road can be slippery. Be sure to take plenty of water, picnic food, and clothes for different weather conditions, as the weather can be unpredictable in the mountains.
For those who prefer a more leisurely option, boat excursions are available from Puerto Rico and Puerto de Mogan, where you may even be lucky enough to spot dolphins along the way. But for those who are up for an adventure, the hike to Playa de Güigüí offers an unforgettable experience, and a chance to see a side of Gran Canaria that few visitors get to see.
Nestled deep in the heart of Tenerife’s Anaga Mountain range, Chinamada is a stunning hamlet many visitors never get the chance to experience. This remote hamlet is a window into a simpler time, where inhabitants lived off the land and carved their homes into the mountainside. The cave houses, known as Caseríos, are still inhabited today and offer a unique glimpse into the past.
The winding roads leading to Chinamada offer breathtaking views of the rugged landscape and the coastline. Visitors can hike to the mountain’s peak for a panoramic view of the ravines and the sea. Moreover, the village is home to a small hermitage dedicated to San Ramón Nonato and a restaurant.
Chinamada is a unique destination that offers a glimpse into the past and the opportunity to discover a different way of life. While it may be a bit of a trek to get there, the journey is well worth the stunning views and the chance to experience a truly special place.
To reach Chinamada, one can embark on the journey from the picturesque Punta del Hidalgo or Cruz del Carmen. Although the hike to Chinamada may require a bit of physical exertion, the climb is well worth the breathtaking views and unique experience of visiting a troglodyte community still living in cave houses. But don’t let that intimidate you. The trail is easy and accessible for all. It is also possible to drive up to the Iglesia de San Ramón in Chinamada and then use that as a starting point to discover the rest of the town.
Masca Village and Bay, Tenerife
Perched high on a cliff in the remote northwest of Tenerife, the picturesque mountain village of Masca is a true hidden paradise. Often compared to Peru’s Machu Picchu for its similarity to the Incan citadel, Masca is a prime example of the island’s culture and rural architecture. With colorful stone houses, craft shops, and cobblestone streets, it’s easy to see why Masca is an Ethnographic Historic Place of Interest.
Getting there can be a bit tricky, so make sure to book your Tenerife transfers well in advance, especially if you’re coming from Tenerife South Airport. The hike to the village can take anywhere from three to five hours, passing through impressive ravines and hillsides dotted with local flora and fauna. But the real adventure lies in the hike through Barranco de Masca, a challenging six-hour round-trip trek over streams, through orchards, and past towering walls of vertical rock to the sea. For those looking for a shorter hike, you can time it so you can hop on a boat from the bay to the lofty cliffs of Los Gigantes, saving your legs and giving you a sneak peek at some of the most memorable coastscapes on the island.
If hiking isn’t your thing, you can get on TF-1, then exit to TF-375 or join one of the boat tours departing from the port of Santiago del Teide, which stops at peaceful coves in Masca Bay, where you can take a refreshing dip. Along the way, you may even be lucky enough to spot pods of short-finned pilot whales, as one of the world’s largest colonies resides in these waters between Tenerife and neighboring La Gomera. With its breathtaking scenery and serene atmosphere, a visit to Masca is a must for any traveler looking to experience the true beauty of Tenerife.
Tips to Traveling Off the Beaten Track in the Canary Islands
These under-the-radar destinations offer breathtaking scenery, serene atmospheres, and the chance to truly immerse yourself in the islands’ culture. But before you embark on your journey, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared. In this section, we’ll provide valuable tips and tricks for traveling off the beaten track in the Canary Islands.
Research the location beforehand. Before visiting an off-the-beaten-track place in the Canary Islands, it’s important to research the location and find out what amenities and facilities are available. This will help you plan your trip and ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and safe visit.
Bring the right gear. Many off-the-beaten-track places in the Canary Islands are in remote or rugged areas, so it’s important to bring the right gear, such as sturdy shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and a waterproof jacket. If you’re planning to hike or go swimming, make sure you have the appropriate clothing and equipment.
Be prepared for limited amenities. Many off-the-beaten-track places in the Canary Islands may have limited amenities, such as restaurants, shops, and toilets. Make sure you bring enough food and water to sustain you during your visit, and be prepared to use public restrooms or bring your own portable toilet.
Follow local customs and regulations. Each island in the Canary Islands has its own customs and regulations, and it’s important to be aware of these when visiting off-the-beaten-track places. For example, some areas may have restrictions on where you can hike or swim, so make sure you follow any posted signs or regulations.
Respect the environment. The Canary Islands are home to many unique and fragile ecosystems, so it’s important to respect the environment when visiting off-the-beaten-track places. This means leaving no trace, not disturbing wildlife or plants, and following any posted rules or regulations.
Be aware of the weather. The Canary Islands’ weather can be quite unpredictable, and storms can arise unexpectedly, especially in the mountains. Keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared for changes in the weather. Make sure you have appropriate clothing and gear to protect you from the sun, wind, and rain.
Stray From the Beaten Path
As you embark on your journey to the Canary Islands, don’t be afraid to stray from the beaten path. The destinations in this article offer a unique and authentic experience that will make your trip truly unforgettable. From the rugged coastline of La Gomera to the idyllic village of Chejelipes, these lesser-known attractions are sure to provide a one-of-a-kind adventure. The islands are full of surprises, and you never know what you might find when you venture off the beaten path. So grab your sunscreen, your sense of adventure and make your way to the archipelago, where exciting secret spots await.